Easily achieve a perfectly baked sweet potato that has a crispy skin and fluffy inside with these foolproof steps and recipe! With just a little bit of butter, salt, and pepper, oven baked sweet potatoes are a fantastic side dish to accompany so many meals.
My foolproof method for making the best baked potatoes works for oven baked sweet potatoes, too!
Making a baked sweet potato is super easy without any special skills needed! But there is definitely a certain way to prepare them so you get perfect results with a crispy exterior and fluffy inside. Then you can leave them plain or top them many different ways to vary the flavor you’re after.
How to Make Baked Sweet Potatoes
Here’s a summary of steps. (Scroll down for the complete printable recipe.)
- Use potatoes uniform in size – if you are baking multiple sweet potatoes at once, make sure they are all approximately the same size, so they cook the same way.
- Wash and scrub – sweet potatoes grow on the ground, so you’ll want to remove any dirt by washing and scrubbing them thoroughly.
- Dry them – after washing the potatoes, you’ll want to dry them with a clean lint-free towel. Dry skin=crispy baked skin!
- Rub them with oil – oil helps the skin get crispy and makes them flavorful. I sometimes coat mine in bacon grease, which is amazing. Olive oil, vegetable oil, and coconut oil all work wonderfully, too. Rub the potatoes all over before baking, so they’re slippery.
- Season generously with salt – don’t skimp on the seasoning. The salt (and grease) are what make you want to eat the skin! I prefer to use coarse sea salt or kosher salt, but table salt is fine too.
- Poke holes – poking holes in the potatoes helps the steam escape. Simply use a fork and poke about 6 holes all around. Ever heard your baked potato whistle? It’s from not poking holes.
- Transfer to the oven – place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven until tender.
- Cut them open soon after baking – if you let them sit for too long after baking, the interior will steam and the potato can become dense. Using a sharp knife, make a long slit in the top of the cooked potato, then gently squeeze it open.
Baked Sweet Potato Recipe
For this baked sweet potato recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 4 sweet potatoes (red-skinned)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease (or extra-virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
You’ll also need a baking sheet and foil. That’s it!
Coming in at only 162 calories for a large plain baked sweet potato and 293 with a little butter and oil for this recipe, eat and enjoy!
How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
Once you’ve washed, dried, pricked, greased, and seasoned the sweet potatoes, you’ll simply place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until tender.
- Do you bake sweet potatoes in foil? Many people wrap their potatoes in foil before baking, and yes, it works fine. But that actually steams the potato. To achieve an awesome crispy skin, ditch the foil!
- How long to bake sweet potatoes? A large sweet potato will take anywhere between 45-60 minutes, depending on the exact size, what temperature your oven is set at, and if your oven runs hot.
- What temperature to bake sweet potatoes? I bake my sweet potatoes at 425 degrees F and start testing it after 45 minutes to see if it’s tender. Simply poke the potato with a fork to make sure the inside is soft. Or if you want to be precise, you can check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Technically, you want them to be between 205 to 212 degrees F. in the thickest part of the potato when they’re done.
- Baked sweet potato microwave version: Although it’s not my favorite way, you can definitely cook a sweet potato in the microwave with decent results! Granted, it won’t actually be “baked.” Prep it the same way I described for an oven baked sweet potato, then simply place the potato on microwave-safe plate and microwave 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Check to see if the sweet potato is tender, and if it’s not, microwave in 30-second increments until it is.
Sweet Potato Toppings
With a flavored skin and sweet flesh, a perfectly baked sweet potato really doesn’t need any toppings – @happyhealthyhailey has gained a successful TikTok following just by eating them baked and plain. But there are so many ways to change up the flavors to keep it as a side or make it a main meal. Here are some ideas:
- Pat of butter, salt, and pepper (this is my favorite way! Sweet and savory.)
- Butter and brown sugar makes it even sweeter, almost like dessert!
- Hawaiian version with diced up cooked ham and pineapple.
- Mexican twist with black beans and cooked chorizo.
- Top it with leftover sloppy joes – yummy!
- Make Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes – so good.
Perfectly Baked Sweet Potato
- 4 large sweet potatoes (red-skinned)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or vegetable oil, coconut oil, or bacon grease)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Wash, scrub, and dry the potatoes thoroughly. Place on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Rub oil and salt all over the potatoes.
- Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork.
- Bake until tender, about 40-60 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes – start checking at 45 minutes.)
- Let cool for about 5 minutes, then split the tops open with a knife and gently squeeze it open.
- Top with a pat of butter and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper before serving. Enjoy!